Anti-interventionist sentiment lives

Anti-interventionist sentiment lives
(Graphic/Jessica Kim)

To the editor: 

When I read Ethan Bond’s appeal to not “abandon Ukraine,” my first thought was, “I’ve seen this movie before.” Bond’s warning that Russia is “inching perilously closer to NATO” seems to forget that NATO has been inching closer to Russia for decades and that Putin has long expressed worries about this NATO encroachment. Bond’s warning that “ultimately, the U.S. will have to intervene” reminds me of the lies that got the U.S. into Vietnam – the now-discredited “Domino Theory” – and Iraq, speculation without evidence that Saddam Hussein wouldn’t stop at Kuwait, which had historically been part of Iraq. 

Since Czar Peter the Great in 1720, Russia has been intent on Russifying Ukraine, which the Russians called “Little Russia,” in contrast with Great Russia. In 1863, the Kremlin’s Valuev Circular insisted the Ukrainian language “never existed, doesn’t exist, and cannot exist.” Stalin called greater autonomy for Ukraine “absurd” before exiling the Ukrainian head of government who had suggested it. Putin’s approach to Ukraine is merely a continuation of Russia’s centuries-long attitude, which the Ukrainians have consistently resisted. 

NATO is a raw deal for the U.S. because so many NATO nations will not invest the NATO-directed 2% of gross domestic product to the alliance’s defense, instead spending it on social benefits for their populations, secure in the reassurance that U.S. blood and treasure will be spent for their defense in the unlikely event it is ever needed. Near the top of the list of reasons former President Donald Trump should not be the Republican nominee is his failure to withdraw the U.S. from NATO when he could have. Even if Putin has designs on the rest of Europe, rather than merely being alarmed at NATO encroachment, Russia’s difficulty making military headway in Ukraine shows how unlikely Russia is to entertain such a gambit. 

Ohio Republican Sen. J.D. Vance, far from Bond’s “j’accuse” of “abandoning our national security interests,” is merely reflecting another Ohio Republican, Sen. Robert Taft’s, much older anti-interventionism. An insistence that the U.S. has a “duty” to support Ukraine or other liberal movements in Russia’s regional sphere of influence amounts to U.S. imperialism. How would the U.S. respond were Mexico to have joined the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War? How did the U.S. respond when the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba? 

-Dino Drudi, Alexandria